The cold of the desert in winter, Phoenix, Arizona
When people think of the desert, they think of heat, not cold. And while it doesn’t get Minnesota cold in the Phoenix area, it does get cold. If you were able to sleep in, which I haven’t been able to do for years now, you wouldn’t notice. It’s the first week of December here in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix and while it will get into the 70s during the day, it was 41° when I woke up.
Nowadays, of course, people in Phoenix live in comfortable bubbles. Their homes are heated, and air-conditioned, as are their cars, but it’s on mornings like this that I think about old-time Phoenix, and what it felt like back then. And it makes me grateful that I can visit in my imagination, embraced by modern comforts.
Time-travel with me back to the days of Phoenix before all of these comforts were taken for granted. It's December, and while it's not as cold as, say, Flagstaff, it's colder than most people nowadays would feel comfortable out in. It's 41 degrees.
Support Arizona history by becoming a patron on Patreon
Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring blog posts are shared there daily, also there's "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, and super high-resolution photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona
If we were rich, we might have a car. Of course, when cars were first invented, they didn't have roll-up windows, or heat, but at least we'd not be out in the cold, on a horse, or sitting in an open trolley car. Yes, it'll be warmer later today, but right now that desert wind is cutting through us like a knife. And we're not rich, and we don't have a car. Not many people in Phoenix do. We just got off the trolley, and we're walking.
41 degrees isn't fatal, like sub-zero temperatures would be, but it hurts like crazy. The heavy clothing we have on isn't the "high tech" stuff that would be invented in the 20th Century. Our coats are extremely heavy, made of leather, and since we're walking quite a bit, it's a lot of weight to carry. No lightweight nylon yet! And there are no zippers, just buttons, and the wind cuts through. Ouch!
Oh darn, I just stepped in a puddle. The streets aren't paved yet, and now my leather boots are soaked. Waitaminute, it hasn't rained for a long time, where did that puddle come from? Oh yeah, now I see the horse over there. I wish I hadn't.
I can feel the sunshine now, and it's going to be warm. This is Phoenix, after all! By summertime I'll be complaining, but now it feels good. I have a flask of whiskey in my pocket, and that makes me feel a little better, too. Any for you? No? OK, let me know if you change your mind. How about if I put my arms around you? You're shivering. There, that's better.
Posted by Brad Hall